What is the Circle of Health?
If you have read about Whole Health, you may have come across the term, “Circle of Health.” But what does it mean? And how can it help?
The Circle of Health is an important part of the Whole Health approach to care. Whole Health puts you at the center of your care. Instead of focusing solely on medical care—such as check-ups or prescriptions to treat illness or injuries—a Whole Health approach looks at your overall well-being. This means in addition to medical care, you may use self-care and complementary therapies like acupuncture, massage, or yoga, to help meet your health goals.
How can it help?
The Circle of Health graphic shows you in the middle of the circle with your care options surrounding you. This helps you explore connections between important aspects of your life and your health and well-being.
Think about your exercise routine, diet, sleep patterns, and relationships. Your physical, emotional, and mental health are connected. Improving one area can benefit other areas and influence your overall physical, emotional, and mental health. The Circle of Health helps you see these connections and offers you tools to address a range of issues.
There are four key elements in this circle:
- Me: You are at the center of your care. What matters most to you? Do you want to be able to dance again, or keep up with your grandkids? The answer to this question will shape your approach to care.
- Self-care: Each of us has the power to impact our well-being. Whole Health offers the skills and support you need to make the changes you want.
- Professional Care: Your health team is there to help with the prevention and treatment of disease and illness.
- Community: Just as there is a “Me” at the center of the circle, there is a “We” that enfolds it. Your Community is the people and groups you connect with.
These four elements make up the Circle of Health. Click here and scroll down to view an interactive version of the Circle of Health.
Medical care is important. And how you live your life between medical appointments makes a big difference.
In the Whole Health approach, you can look at all areas of your life, including areas of strength and aspects where support could be helpful to you. Self-care is any activity that you do purposely to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. You may want to start with just one or two areas. These areas of self-care shown in the Circle of Health include:
- Mindful Awareness – Being aware of thoughts and feelings to focus on the present.
- Moving the Body – Exercising and moving for energy, flexibility, and strength.
- Surroundings – Having comfortable, healthy spaces that support your body and emotions.
- Personal Development – Moving toward what matters most to you.
- Food and Drink – Nourishing your body to not only live, but to live well.
- Recharge – Getting enough sleep, rest, relaxation.
- Family, friends, and co-workers – Developing close, loving, supportive relationships with others.
- Spirit and Soul – Cultivating a sense of connection, purpose, and meaning.
- Power of the Mind – Tapping into your ability to heal and cope through mind-body approaches.
You don’t have to wait until something is wrong to focus on your well-being. Taking stock of where you are in each of these areas and thinking about where you want to be is the first step in living a healthier life.
How do I get started?
There are several ways to start your Whole Health path:
- Complete a Personal Health Inventory – Explore what matters to you and assess where you are and want to be in the eight Circle of Health areas of self-care.
- Have a Conversation – Tell your health care provider your needs, concerns, and goals. A yoga class might enhance your flexibility, or a tai chi class might help you manage your pain better.
- Take a Course – There are currently two Veteran-led Whole Health courses: Introduction to Whole Health and Taking Charge of My Life and Health. During these courses, other Veterans will teach you about Whole Health practices and help you take steps to create your Personal Health Plan.
Whether you want to wake up with less pain, change careers, reduce stress, or move more, you can start making a difference today. To get started with your Whole Health journey, click here.